Board approves sharing business office with Collins-Maxwell

Brett Van WausContributing Writer

The Colo-Nesco board of education approved the sharing of a business office with neighboring Collins-Maxwell at its regular meeting Monday.

Both districts will retain all current positions and a schedule will be worked out so at least one staff member is present at each location during working hours. The board also approved an automated management system for its employees and substitute teachers, to be implemented some time this fall.

The agreement continues a trend by the Colo-Nesco district of exploring options for sharing throughout the region. One example of this was evident as Dr. Steve Gray, also the superintendent at Nevada Community Schools, was welcomed to his first official meeting in his new capacity as Colo-Nesco’s superintendent by Board President Joel Niemeyer.

Gray wasted no time in exploring new educational opportunities for students at Colo-Nesco, bringing up the possibility of partnering with local businesses in Story County to offer internships in exchange for college credit. Gray is hopeful new programs can be launched, beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

“We’re at the point where we’re beginning to form an advisory committee,” said Gray. “Hopefully we can get some really authentic business experiences for our kids and provide some economic benefit at the same time.”

In other news, Gray mentioned that the Story County Conservation Board (SCCB) has approached him about possibly installing a sidewalk along Center Street. This sidewalk would be part of connecting the Praeri Rail Trail, running east to west from Roland to Zearing, to the newly-renovated Dakins Lake just north of the Colo-Nesco Elementary School. Both Gray and SCCB Director Mike Cox are in favor of installing a permanent stop sign on Center Street to slow down traffic in the area. A vote to approve any measure will take place in August.

Near the conclusion of the meeting, Board Vice President Jon Cutler praised those around the school district for their work to improve Colo-Nesco’s financial standing. The district is expecting to show a positive balance in its general fund for the second consecutive year.

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped us get here,” said Cutler. “The board, the administration, the staff. We met our goals, and we did it without losing a full-time teacher.”